The busier we get, the more we work, even the more that we learn and read, the further we tend to drift from our center. We get in a rhythm. We’re making money, being creative, we’re stimulated and busy. It seems like everything is going well. But if we’re not careful, those other things grow and grow until they take over completely; and what once felt like a rhythm now feels like a rut.
It’s true for us now just as it was true for Marcus Aurelius. He had an awful lot to keep him busy, to distract him, to push him further and further, which in turn afforded him less and less time for that which really mattered to him: philosophy. We get a good sense of how he thought about his priorities with this analogy in Book 6 of Meditations:
“If you had a stepmother and a real mother, you would pay your respects to your step mother, yes…but it’s your real mother you’d go home to.
The court…and philosophy: Keep returning to it, to rest in its embrace. It’s all that makes the court — and you — endurable.”
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